Seattle families have say in school bus reductions, start time changes

Jan 27, 2011

Seattle Public Schools' latest plan to shore up its budget deficit could mean some students won't have bus service next year and most will have to get up earlier. Families can get more details and voice concerns on these changes and more at a series of meetings starting tonight:

  • Most elementary and K-8 students will only be able to take the bus if they live outside "walk boundaries" but within 1.25 miles of their school (that means some students who currently have bus service could lose it or have to walk farther to stops.).
  • Some elementary schools would start 5 minutes earlier.
  • Some middle schools and high schools would start 10 minutes earlier.
  • Students in grades 6-12 who live outside school bus zones will be issued ORCA cards.
  • Students enrolled in special programs such as ELL, EBOC, Special Education, APP and Spectrum, will receive transportation from a wider area than their neighborhood "transportation zone."

Administrators say the changes could save $4 million, or enough to pay for 45 teachers. The school district faces a $36.6 million budget shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year. The school board is scheduled to vote on the transportation changes on Feb. 16.

The district has scheduled the following public meetings to discuss the changes:

Jan. 27, Aki Kurose Middle School, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 3, Hamilton International Middle School, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Feb. 8, Chief Sealth High School, 6:30 - 8 p.m.